King takes veiled swipe at Russia at Games

American swimmer Lilly King has hinted that Russia should not be at Tokyo due to their doping past.
Camera IconAmerican swimmer Lilly King has hinted that Russia should not be at Tokyo due to their doping past. Credit: EPA

American swimmer Lilly King has taken a thinly veiled swipe at the Russian Olympic Committee after their president claimed his team's Tokyo medals are the "best answer" to critics who questioned why they were allowed to compete following doping scandals.

"There are a lot of people here that should not be here," said breaststroker King, who won two silver and a bronze in Tokyo.

King made her statement seated next to Ryan Murphy, another US swimmer who seemed to take aim this week at a country that has repeatedly run afoul of doping rules.

Murphy said earlier this week the 200m backstroke final was "probably not clean" after being relegated to silver by Russian Evgeny Rylov but later said his comments weren't aimed at anyone in particular.

King was more direct on Sunday.

"I wasn't racing anyone from a country who should have been banned and instead got a slap on the wrist and rebranded their national flag," she said.

"So, I personally wasn't as effected. But Ryan was."

Her comments came hours after ROC president Stanislav Pozdnyakov said critics "supposed that as a matter of fact our athletes can't compete without doping" but that Russian athletes in Tokyo "proved the opposite not just with words but with their deeds and results".

Russia was revealed to have launched a massive, state-sponsored program to elude testers ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.

It has sent depleted squads to the last two Olympics as punishment.

The country's name, flag and anthem have been banned from the Olympics and other major sports events following a legal battle with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

After competing under the moniker OAR - Olympic Athletes From Russia - at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, it has competed as the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in Japan.

Russian athletes have won 40 medals in Tokyo, 11 of them gold.

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